There's a very interesting event happening in Ivy City tomorrow, Thursday September 10th. It's a celebration of the life of Alexander Crummell on the anniversary of his death, and it takes place on the grounds of the long vacant Crummell School.
The Crummell School is a now shuttered historic school, built in the Elizabethan Revival style; but it continues to play a key symbolic role in the Ivy City community. The school's namesake, Alexander Crummell, was the son of a former slave. Crummell was an abolitionist, an Episcopal priest who went on to found the first independent Episcopal black church in DC, and a Professor at Howard. Along the way he also became one of the first black students to study at Cambridge. He influenced important black thinkers such as Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois, who devoted a chapter to him in The Souls of Black Folk.
The Crummell School is on the National Register of Historic Places (scroll to page seven for a description of the building, followed by an interesting narrative history) and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development held a meeting in July to gather community input for the Request For Proposals (RFP) process that will determine the future of the building.
Tomorrow's event is sponsored by Friends of Crummell School, Empower DC (which is accepting donations to support their efforts in Ivy City), the DC Preservation League, dog & pony dc, and ANC 5D01. Dr. Greg Carr, Chair of the African American Studies Department at Howard, will speak on the historical importance of Alexander Crummell, and his ongoing relevance. Selections from Crummell's writings will be read, and singer Ayanna Gregory will perform. The event will be presented with ASL interpretation. Reserve a free seat online (reservations suggested, but not required). 6-8:30pm 1900 Gallaudet Street, in Ivy City. On-site parking is available. The event is also accessible by the D8, D4, and E2 buses. You can walk from NoMa or Rhode Island Avenue Metro stations, but it's a bit of a hike. The same is true for Capital Bike Share (Union Market has the closest station).
Here's a recording of a WPFW broadcast discussion from yesterday about the life and legacy of Alexander Crummell.